Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Author of THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM EATERS

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Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:23 pm

I was so focused on completing today's tidbit that I almost forgot to post the Daily Dahlquist. :blush: I guess my head was in the clouds, as it were.

ONBC: Is there any basis for the indigo clay in real life? How did you come up with or enhance the idea of the blue clay?

GD: The indigo clay comes pretty much entirely from my experience with computers. I worked for some time in the computing offices of Columbia University and was able to watch up close how people's habits changed along with the changing technology. I think the technology we have now is changing far more quickly than we can track its effect upon our thinking, which is both thrilling and scary. Our experience of the world has changed a great deal in one generation, almost exponentially. The idea of sharing another person's experience is a pretty old one in science fiction, but my hope is that by placing it in an earlier time period the shock of it – which I think would be the case in any time period – can be clearer.

"Indigo clay" was chosen as something sort of unlikely - that something dull could be transformed into something clear (which probably came from the pottery my mother made in the 70's) - with the caveat that it may not strictly be "clay" so much as a sort of deposit that also has a particular mix of chemicals (another similarly functional mix might be something like bauxite) that contain the appropriate properties. That said, there's also a connotation of "clay" with flesh, which relates to the sensual/psychotropic properties of the glass.
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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby Theresa » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:52 am

Interesting...I believe this subject was touched upon during the discussion, and I still find it very interesting that Mr. Dahlquist used clay in connotation with his experience with computers. The two things seem so opposite -- clay, a natural, sensual material (think of that scene in "Ghost"), and computers -- microchips, codes and equations.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby gemini » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:16 am

I guess you mean its used in computer chips.
My brain is already a little fried from reading Parellel Worlds but I did wonder about indigo clay when reading the Glass books and slipped it into google.
Here are a couple phases I ran across
School of engeneering
Nano electrophoresis chip: separation of large DNA ... and highly exfoliated pristine clay via melt compounding.

Nanotechnology
Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering ... Electro-reduction of Indigo dyes with nanomaterial electrode without the addition of mediator. ... Nanocomposite particles of Fe/clay as catalyst for photo-fenton reaction; ... and optical interconnects for high-performance computer chips. ...
Sound like parellel worlds yet? Glass books was science fiction but PW certianly seemed like it.

Here is another article I found where it was used for Mayan sacrifices to paint the victims blue.
Remind you of the glass ladies?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080226162953.htm
I guess all this fantastic new technology that has uses for indigo clay make it seem all the more possible that it was a great idea to use it for the process, not to mention that it goes back to the Mayans.
Last edited by gemini on Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:22 pm

Wow, gemini! If the link to computers wasn't enough, the Mayan ritual just blew me away. :-O Amazing! And it made me want to dig deeper into the computer connection. Here’s what I found in a New York Times article. Below is an excerpt I found interesting. Parallel Worlds meets The Glass Books indeed. :hypnotic:



But scientists obsessed with clay, seemingly among the most ancient and ordinary of earthly materials, now go even further. This somber, clammy, doughy substance may be capable of storing information and replicating pieces of itself, some believe. And they speculate that those abilities may provide an answer to the mystery of how life began.

The surprising complexity of clay is beginning to come into focus, with the help of new microscopes and particle beamsfor probing structure on the smallest scales.

Some of its properties have long been known; clay was the original catalyst in oil refining, for example, and small amounts can speed chemical processes by a factor of 10,000 or more.

But as physicists, chemists and geologists come closer to understanding how atoms organize themselves on surfaces, the puzzles of clay's behavior have formed a crucial frontier of materials science.

''When you talk about clays in the natural world, you're talking about the most complex area of all geochemistry,'' said Hyman Hartman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ''Our understanding of clays is worse than our understanding of biology.''

Clay is the product of thousands of years of weathering - the result of pounding, cracking and crushing rocks, dissolving them in water and crystallizing them again as particles. Water readily fills the tiny spaces, giving clay its familiar malleable feel.

In a sense, clay is the wild, undomesticated precursor of the semiconductors that set off the computer revolution and the newly discovered superconductors that have begun transforming technologies of electricity and magnetism. Like those modern ceramic materials, clay is a crystal, with its molecules arranged in orderly arrays, and it has been found to have startling electronic properties.

''If you take a lump of clay and hit it with a hammer it blows ultraviolet energy for a month,''said Leila M. Coyne of San Jose State University in California. Dr. Coyne has shown that molecular irregularities - ''defects'' - in the crystalline lattice of clays give them the ability to store energy and then re-emit it.

That is one of the clues tantalizing scientists who believe clay, rather than the primordial ocean, may hold the key to the origin of life.

''If you think about what a life form is,'' Dr. Coyne said, ''you have to be able to take energy from the environment and use it to drive chemistry. Energy storage, collection and transfer is probably the most fundamental requirement of a living system.'' From Three Dimensions to Two.

Like most semiconductors, clay is silicon-based, containing, by definition, aluminum and oxygen atoms as well. Like the new superconductors, clay's crystals form in layered sheets: fundamentally two-dimensional, not three-dimensional.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby fansmom » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:21 pm

Wow. I'll have to show more respect to my cat's kitty litter.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby gemini » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:28 pm

Like you Liz, I was pretty fascinated with some of the links I read about the indigo clay. It did remind me a lot of reading Parallel Worlds, which I was reading at the time. When I read Gordens answer I thought maybe he knew more about it than he was letting on with his sentence
"The indigo clay comes pretty much entirely from my experience with computers."

Some of the things it is being used for or was used for, seem to make it ideal for the process.
I think the technology we have now is changing far more quickly than we can track its effect upon our thinking, which is both thrilling and scary. Our experience of the world has changed a great deal in one generation, almost exponentially.
Some of his comments made me think he has been reading Parellel Worlds along with us.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers



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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:09 pm

gemini wrote:Like you Liz, I was pretty fascinated with some of the links I read about the indigo clay. It did remind me a lot of reading Parallel Worlds, which I was reading at the time. When I read Gordens answer I thought maybe he knew more about it than he was letting on with his sentence.

I wondered that myself, gemini. I suspect, though, that he is not reading PW. It's just that Twilight Zone that follows me around.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby trygirl » Mon Feb 16, 2009 1:07 pm

Thanks Gemini and Liz for your articles. This is really fascinating information. I never realized the real world applications of clay until now. And just like the ritualistic and technological uses, it made me think of the medicinal ones. I kept thinking about the Duke and his miraculous return from the dead. I know clay isn't used to make zombies but it has been used for healing in the past.
I'm not a brand, I'm more of a variety. - Johnny Depp

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby fansmom » Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:58 pm

Liz wrote:It's just that Twilight Zone that follows me around.
My Twilight Zone experience of the day--
There's a woman at work who worked with us three years ago, went off to college, and is now back. Last week she commented that she hadn't seen a consultant who used to come in regularly, and I said he hadn't been around in a couple of years because he'd moved to Florida. She also commented that she'd never met a particular client who has only been in twice in the last few years.

They both came in today. Out of the blue.

Another coworker's comment: "You'd better get her to ask why Johnny Depp doesn't stop by."

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby Liz » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:12 am

Fansmom, nothing surprises me anymore. But her comment sure made me laugh. I guess they know about your afflication, as it were? :grin:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Gordon Dahlquist Q&A #9

Unread postby fansmom » Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:36 pm

Liz wrote:Fansmom, nothing surprises me anymore. But her comment sure made me laugh. I guess they know about your afflication, as it were? :grin:
Affliction that I enjoy! :love:


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